Minimalism and family life
A minimalist home and children - it almost sounds impossible doesn't it! Babies come with stuff. Most people know this when they're thinking of having a baby. Then you get pregnant and discover this whole world of stuff that you never knew existed. There is so much stuff that you can buy - it's amazing considering that they're so teeny tiny! When you first get it all it can feel a little overwhelming; like it's completely taken over the house. Let me reassure you though; you can still have those clean lines and minimal look in your home.
Firstly, give some really careful thought to what you are purchasing and what you really need (and try to ignore the endless advertising telling you that you absolutely need X product or else you will be a terrible parent). Whilst there are some obvious basics that you'll need like a cot, a lot of things have scope for you to decide how much to buy. Take clothes for example, unless you change your baby every time the tiniest bit of dirt gets on its clothes (personally I just don't have the energy for this; if the dirt is tiny or it can get sponged off, the clothes stay on!) and you have good access to a washing machine, there really are only so many items of clothing that one baby can wear in a week. I've managed to slim down my son's wardrobe as I've got more used to how many items he really needs and it's also saved us quite a bit of money!
Next; think about the best places in the house for everything. I think it's easiest to have everything live in the room it gets used the most in. For example, my son does most of his playing in the living room so this is where I keep his toys. Once you've worked out which rooms things are going to live in you can start working on the storage. Storage is vital to managing baby things and to keeping those spaces looking clean and organised. We decided to combine as much as possible; our nappy change station sits on top of a cupboard with boxes inside this for storage. When we had to switch to expressing and bottle feeding we suddenly found ourselves with bottles, sterilising equipment, different washing brushes, bottle warmers and bags. We bought a good sized white box that fits in our kitchen cupboard and everything goes away except for one tiny brush which sits by the sink and the bottle warmer. The kitchen stays tidy and it doesn't feel like his stuff is taking over. I've also organised the different types of clothes into their own drawers/boxes so it's really easy to find each item in the mornings and evenings. Anything that can reduce stress when you have a baby is an absolute winner! The toys all live in a box in the living room and each night my husband and I tidy them away (this will be our son's job when he's old enough!). The living room goes back to being tidy each evening which makes us feel relaxed and like we have a family space rather than a toy den.
Where you can, buy storage and baby equipment that meets with your design style. We like a Scandinavian look so we chose a white Kallax cupboard from IKEA with grey boxes to go in the living room; the nappy station sits on the top and all of his toys, muslins and nappy stuff fits in the boxes. His highchair is also from IKEA in white and I found a light grey plastic mat from our local market to put underneath it to protect the floor. This way the room still works together as a whole and it feels like a nice family space to be in.
There might be a period of time where your house tips in favour of your baby. For those first few months our living room had a baby gym on the floor, a baby box (a big cardboard box with a mattress in it for sleeping in; they're great, honest, give them a google!) that sat on the chaise-long section of our sofa and a nappy change station in the corner. There was baby stuff everywhere you turned. Is it minimalist? Well it's not sparse that's for sure but it's also not for very long in the grand scheme of things either. Within a couple of months our tiny baby had grown and no longer napped in his box. This has turned into a place where I store his blankets in his bedroom. After a few more months he could sit up by himself and no longer wanted to play with his gym. Once he could crawl he no longer wanted his jumperoo. Within 9 months our living room just had his toys in it which get put away each night and his nappy station. Within a few minutes the space can be put into our tidy, clean lines Scandi space. Nine months is such a short amount of time and it goes so fast; it's totally worth a little stuff. Every one of those things brought him joy and that smile on his face is one of the best things about every single one of my days since he arrived in our lives.